An exercise program that promotes bone health will include exercises for balance, flexibility, posture, strength and aerobic (or cardiovascular) conditioning. Each of these exercise groups has a role to play in strengthening your bones and reducing your risk of a fall. A well-designed aerobic conditioning program can have a significant impact on the strength of your bones. Before you start your next aerobic workout, you should take the following points into consideration:
- Your aerobic program should include activities that incorporate weight bearing. Weight bearing exercises are exercises that cause you to carry weight or load through your skeleton.
- Not all exercise activity is equal when it comes to the benefits of weight bearing. For example, brisk walking has been shown to build bone but not as much as more intense physical activities such as martial arts, hockey or gymnastics. The more demanding the activity is on your bones, the stronger your bones will become.
- The weight bearing activities you incorporate into your exercise program should be consistent with your current level of fitness. If gardening has been your primary physical activity, then a brisk evening walk would likely be an appropriate start for you instead of playing basketball or jumping rope.
- Your choice of exercise should be based on a number of health considerations—this includes the health of your bones and their ability to resist a fracture. If your bones are fragile and are at a high risk of fracture, then the weight bearing exercises you choose will be very different than those selected by someone who is at a low risk of fracture.
Putting Weight Bearing into your Aerobic Workout
Examples of activities that would be appropriate for someone who is at a high risk of fracture and wanting maximum bone building benefit include:
- Brisk walking
- Nordic walking
- Stair climbing
- Low impact aerobics
Someone at a moderate risk of fracture and wishing to experience maximum bone building benefit include:
- Running or jogging
- Jumping rope
A person with a low risk of fracture has a wider array of activities to choose from. More strenuous activities should be part of their aerobic program, including:
- Martial Arts
Finding Out Your Fracture Risk
A bone mineral density test, also known as a Dual X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA), along with your family history, medication history, age and gender are used to help determine your risk for a fracture.
If you are comfortable using the web to research your health information, you can go to my web site www.melioguide.com to take a fracture risk questionnaire. At the conclusion of the questionnaire, you will be given your fracture risk and assigned a free comprehensive exercise program based on your fracture risk and activity level.
Following a bone building aerobic exercise program will not only help you strengthen your bones, it will also help you build muscle, lose fat, reduce back pain and make you fitter and firmer.